Introduction to Boulder, Colorado

The Colorado city of Boulder is the county seat of Boulder County and also the county's largest city. Perched at an elevation of 5,400 feet above sea-level, the city is located 30 miles northwest of the Colorado state capital of Denver. Boulder is home to the main campus of the University of Colorado, the state's largest university.

Until the late 1850's, the Boulder Valley was inhabited by Indians, primarily the Southern Arapaho tribe. The first known non-native settlers in the area were gold prospectors who arrived in 1858, when Boulder was still part of the Nebraska Territory. In 1861, the Territory of Colorado was created by the U.S. Congress and in 1871 Boulder (then known as Boulder City) was incorporated as a city. Five years later the University of Colorado at Boulder opened and in that same year (1876) Colorado achieved its statehood. Through the early part of the 20th century, mining and tourism were two of the city's principal industries. Later years saw a different kind of industry with the arrival of the National Bureau of Standards (which today is the National Institute of Standards and Technology, home of the atomic clock) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Boulder is often cited as one of the nation's most desirable places to live. The city's natural beauty, abundant recreational options, and lively cultural atmosphere are just a few reasons why.

Things to do in Boulder

The city of Boulder is replete with activities and attractions of all kinds: indoor, outdoor, recreational, festive, cultural, you name it. With the possible exception of surfers, outdoor recreation lovers will always find something to do here. To begin with, the city is surrounded by more than 31,000 acres of recreational open space and nature preserves, providing abundant opportunities for biking, hiking and rock climbing. Over 120 miles of trails vary in size and difficulty, from the simple to the technically challenging. The Boulder Creek Path is a 16-mile trail perfect for walking, biking, or in-line skating. World-class rock climbing can be found in nearby Eldorado Canyon, six miles south of Boulder. Only an hour away is Estes Park, gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. Two of Boulder's annual events focus on outdoor recreation. the "Bolder Boulder" is a 10K road race held every on Memorial Day which draws up to 50,000 runners, joggers, walkers, and wheelchair racers. "Kinetics" is an annual race across land and water by human-powered vehicles, held every year to mark the beginning of spring. Another yearly event (held on Memorial Day in conjunction with Bolder Boulder) is the Boulder Creek Fest, which features art, music, food, and local dance troupes.

Arts and culture are not lacking in Boulder either. The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is held every summer at the outdoor Mary Rippon Theater on the University of Colorado campus. Also on the University campus is the Colorado MahlerFest, an annual celebration honoring Austrian composer Gustav Mahler, held every January. On Thursday nights in the summer, "Bands on the Bricks" features street musicians performing a wide variety of musical styles. One of the top comprehensive university museums of natural history in the nation is the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. Located on the University campus, the museum contains over four million anthropology, biology, and geology/paleontology research specimens. Exhibits include fossils, animals native to Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region, and ancient Southwestern cultures. Other cultural venues in the city include the following:

  • Colorado Academy of Art
  • National Center for Atmospheric Research
  • Boulder History Museum
  • Leanin' Tree Museum & Sculpture Garden of Western Art
  • University of Colorado Heritage Center
  • Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Fiske Planetarium / Sommer Bausch Observatory
  • Flagstaff Mountain and Summit Nature Center

Other attractions in and around Boulder include the Farmers' Market, open twice weekly April through October in the downtown area; the Gateway Park Fun Center, offering go-karts, mini-golf, and batting cages: and several area wineries.

Spectator sports in Boulder focus on collegiate action, with the University of Colorado Buffaloes located in the city. The Buffaloes play in the NCAA’s Division I (I-A for football) as members of the Big 12 Conference. The football team shared a national championship in 1990, and the University's teams have won national championships in cross country, cycling, triathlon, and skiing. Professional sports can be found in nearby Denver, only a half-hour away. Major league teams that play there include the following:

  • Major League Baseball: Colorado Rockies
  • National Football League: Denver Broncos
  • National Basketball Association: Denver Nuggets
  • National Hockey League: Colorado Avalanche
  • Major League Soccer (MLS): Colorado Rapids
  • National Lacrosse League (NLL): Colorado Mammoth


Total Population 103,919
Male Share of the Population 51.7%
Female Share of the Population 48.3%
Senior Citizens 10%
Employed Population 16+ 55,916
Age of the Population 28


% of people married 32.8%
Average household size 2

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 72.3%
Median Earnings25+ $42,297
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $20,978
Median Earnings With High School Degree $21,031


Median Family Income $105,034
% Above Poverty Level 76.9%
% Below Poverty Level 23.1%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 19 minutes
% Working from Home 11.7%
% Walking and Biking to Work 21%
% Using Public Transportation 8.4%


People Living Alone 33.5%
Median Gross Rent $1,243
Median House Value $512,600


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 22.4%
US/American 0.3%
English 11.6%
Irish 14.2%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Boulder Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 24 miles NW of Denver, Colorado
County Boulder
Standard Zip Codes 80301, 80302, 80303, 80304, 80305
P.O. Box Zip Codes 80306, 80307, 80308
Company Zip Codes 80309, 80310, 80314, 80321, 80322, 80323, 80328, 80329
Phone Area Codes 303
Time Zone Mountain (-7 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 40.015
Longitude -105.27

Boulder Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 1.1 miles
Jan Temp 19 to 46 F
Apr Temp 34 to 63 F
Jul Temp 56 to 87 F
Oct Temp 37 to 67 F
Annual Precip 19.9 inches
Distance 15 miles
Jan Temp 12 to 42 F
Apr Temp 32 to 62 F
Jul Temp 55 to 89 F
Oct Temp 33 to 67 F
Annual Precip 14.1 inches
Distance 20.1 miles
Jan Temp 13 to 44 F
Apr Temp 30 to 59 F
Jul Temp 55 to 86 F
Oct Temp 32 to 65 F
Annual Precip 17 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Broomfield 60,699 $97,886
Jamestown 256 $110,500
Lafayette 26,430 $81,078
Louisville 19,548 $118,160
Nederland 1,531 $90,625
Superior 12,815 $129,815

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Boulder Public Libraries

Boulder Public Library
Boulder, Colorado
(303) 441-3100
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Boulder Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(303) 440-2273
Emergency Service: Yes

These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.
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Boulder High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 1,931 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 20

Serves 1,887 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 21.2

Serves 334 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 18.2

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 282 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 10.4

A Charter School.
Serves 91 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 14.2

A Special Education School
Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 15 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 3.3

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